Invested in Success: An International Student Finds Resources To Reach Her Full Potential

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Hanan Ali
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My story begins in a city on the coast of the East African country of Kenya. Being the eldest of 5 siblings and the daughter of two very hard working Somali parents, I was always considered the hope of the family. From grade school to college, I have always been the one on whom the family’s future rested. My parents continually strive to give me and my siblings the tools we need to succeed in the world. I went to the best schools my parents could afford in Kenya, starting from The Nyali School to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Secondary and Technical School. Coming to the United States was a continuation of my parents’ life goal of giving me the best opportunity achieve success.

Finding Resources for Success

At Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, I managed to find my place in the Associated Student Organization and Phi Theta Kappa. From the first day I was welcomed and supported by strangers who would soon turn into close friends, mentors and confidantes. In the first few weeks I struggled to adjust my knowledge to fit what was being introduced in my classes. Then I found my school’s MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) program. MESA is a California statewide academic enrichment program that supports economically and educationally disadvantaged students to prepare for and excel in STEM majors. In MESA I found a safe space with tutors, computers, printers and everything else I needed to succeed. As soon as I could, I started tutoring and doing my best to give back to the center that helped me excel academically.  With all of these resources and great people so invested in my success I really have no reason not to reach my full potential.

Scholarship increased self-confidence

Receiving the Pearson Scholarship has also given me the motivation to go after goals that initially seemed unreachable. Being honored in this way has made me believe in myself and has increased my self-confidence. The scholarship has helped alleviate some of the load my expenses in the United States have on my parents. With the first disbursement I have been able to apply to more transfer schools and comfortably pay off the application fees without imposing on my parents. The scholarship has also reduced the cost of textbooks because of the complimentary educational materials Pearson has so graciously added to the scholarship.

A mentor to help shape my future

As part of the scholarship, I have also been matched with a Pearson employee mentor. My awesome mentor, Sherri, has been a great motivator and supporter. She has helped me improve myself in ways I hadn’t thought of. A mentor is a teacher and a guide to the young and inexperienced like me. Mentors help in shaping us and who we become as professionals and future leaders. They motivate us to pursue our dreams even when we think they’re too far out of reach. They also provide a different perspective on issues we face in our daily lives and our pursuit of education and excellence.

With the support of my family, friends, campus resources, Pearson and a great mentor to guide me, my dreams are now definitely within reach.

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